WGBH's Popular “Arthur” Show Lends Support to Diabetes Awareness
Joslin Patient from Medfield, Mass., Stars in May 17 Premiere in the “And Now a Word From Us Kids” Live-Action Segment
BOSTON — May 15, 2006 — “And now a word from us kids!” is a familiar line for anyone who has ever seen the popular animated series Arthur produced by WGBH Boston and Cookie Jar Entertainment that airs daily on PBS KIDS GO! And on May 17, those words will introduce a segment about healthy eating and diabetes management featuring 11-year-old Corinne, a patient with type 1 diabetes at Joslin Diabetes Center.
In the live-action segment following a brand new animated Arthur story “Desert Island Dish,” which is about healthy eating habits for children, Corinne tells viewers about glucose monitoring and shows how she uses her insulin pump to manage her type 1 diabetes. She and her friends also whip up some healthy after-school snacks before heading outdoors to shoot some hoops.
“Desert Island Dish” premieres nationwide on May 17, 2006, on PBS KIDS GO! and will repeat regularly as part of the Arthur schedule, including an encore on June 7. The episode will air in the Boston area on WGBH Channel 2 at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time.
Corinne (left) is the oldest of three and lives with her family in Medfield, Mass. Her sister, Juliet, age 9, and brother, Charlie, age 6, are her biggest fans, even before her debut on Arthur. Corinne says, “I check my blood sugar throughout the day, even while I’m at school, before snacks and lunch. I’ve had diabetes since I was 22 months old, and sometimes I wish that I did not have it. I have my family and my friends and they help me and make sure that I am doing okay, which makes it easier.
“I really enjoy playing outdoor games with my friends, especially soccer, basketball and tennis,” Corinne continues. “And that’s a good thing, because diabetes is about more than just eating right and taking insulin. Exercise is really good for me and helps my family and me manage my diabetes better.”
"We're gratified that the team at WGBH chose to focus the attention of kids, families, teachers, school nurses and after-school providers on diabetes," said Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of Pediatrics at Joslin Diabetes Center. "We believe applying the popularity of Arthur, which has more than 10 million weekly viewers, to raising awareness of diabetes will help ease the burden that children with diabetes carry, and help us make important strides in reaching kids and families about the need for healthy eating and exercise."
More than 20 million Americans are estimated to have diabetes, and about one-third of them do not know they have the disease. It is a costly disease to society as it is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputations and other complications. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are different diseases. About one million Americans have type 1 diabetes, a chronic auto-immune disease, primarily diagnosed in children, adolescents and young adults but it can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetes is the most common, severe chronic disease of childhood. Those with type I diabetes do not produce insulin and must inject themselves daily or wear an insulin pump to keep themselves alive.
“One of the reasons we are so excited about this show is that we feel it opens up the dialogue about diabetes and helping people to understand the demands of type 1 diabetes, the dangers, the great risk of complications and the enormous cost to our nation,” says Corinne’s mother, Claire.
Type 2 diabetes, a different but more common form of the disease, is more closely linked to the rising incidence of obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Once considered largely a disease of middle-aged and older adults, the incidence of type 2 diabetes is growing in younger people. Type 2 diabetes is managed through a combination of nutrition, physical activity, oral medications and sometimes insulin.
Celebrating its 10th year in production, Arthur is an animated series that airs daily on PBS KIDS GO! Based on the best-selling books by Marc Brown, Arthur follows the adventures of the world’s most famous aardvark, eight-year-old Arthur Read, his four-year-old sister D.W., and their family and friends. In episodes that never moralize or talk down to kids, Arthur and his friends encounter the joys and difficulties that all kids experience—from welcoming a new sibling to facing down a bully—and they manage to handle each situation with imagination, kindness and a lot of humor. Arthur is produced by WGBH Boston and Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc. Executive producers are Pierre Valette, Lesley Taylor and Toper Taylor. Marc Brown is executive creative producer.
For viewers of WGBH Boston, in addition to Wednesday’s premiere and the encore on June 7, “Desert Island Dish” and Corinne’s segment will air again on August 11.
To find airdates nationally, click on the following link for Arthur’s TV times in your area:
For more information and a recipe that Corinne prepares on the show, click here.
Hooray for Health!
Joslin Diabetes Center’s efforts to reach parents, kids, and care providers with information about diabetes are being complemented by WGBH Boston with not only the Arthur episode, but also through a program to reach caregivers. WGBH will create a booklet on diabetes as part of its well-respected Hooray for Health! series of curriculum units that focus on pediatric health issues. The materials will be designed for use by teachers, school nurses and after-school providers across the country. Dr. Laffel will be on the medical advisory panel for the booklet. For more on the Hooray for Health! series, see: http://pbskids.org/arthur/parentsteachers/lesson/health/.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup, along with some of public television’s best-known lifestyle shows and children’s programs: Arthur, Between the Lions, Postcards from Buster, and ZOOM. Under the leadership of Vice President Brigid Sullivan, the WGBH children’s lineup leads the field in educational multimedia (including the Web, broadband and interactive television) and in technologies and services that make media accessible to people with disabilities. WGBH’s current children’s series have been recognized with some of the world’s most prestigious awards, including thirteen Emmys, the George Foster Peabody award, three Prix Jeunesse awards, a BAFTA, and more than half a dozen Parents’ Choice awards. For more information, visit wgbh.org.
Note: Photo of Corinne by Kathy Tarantola. All ARTHUR characters and underlying materials (including artwork) copyright by Marc Brown. Arthur, D.W., and the other ARTHUR characters are trademarks of Marc Brown. Used with permission.